Archive | March 2015

Paragraphs and Sentences

Sentences aren’t improved by stuffing more ideas into them. Periods are your friends. Synthesis happens between sentences.

When editing, I make every sentence into its own paragraph. I free the ideas from their mooring. This makes it easier to organize my thoughts and root out redundancy. After I look at each sentence individually and make sure everything is necessary and means what I intend, I pull the sentences back together into paragraphs and work on flow and rhythm.

Paragraphs don’t have the power to clarify muddled thoughts. In narrative fiction, topic sentences are usually superfluous and should be removed. Transition sentences condescend and rob the reader of subtext. Sentences can illuminate each other when you don’t over explain how they relate.

A good example is that you don’t always have to point out contradictions.

As an exercise, look through your writing for the word “but” and check if you can remove it by placing a period and making two sentences. Sometimes it won’t work. Other times it will make the two contrasting ideas stronger.

Maybe a Bad Idea, But What Do I Have to Lose?

I was going to learn to code, but I guess I’ll try mastering the English language first.

I have this crazy idea. I’ll become my own copy editor. It will take time and daily study. I’ll have to master a craft that is not one of my natural gifts. Not by a long shot. It will be a struggle. Hopefully it will pay off.

The worst that could happen is I become better at grammar, and I still have to hire an editor anyway.

I just can’t pay to have three novels edited in one year. Especially if there might not be a return on my investment. I can either get a job just so I can pay a copy editor potentially thousands of dollars, or I can use that time to master proofreading myself.

These are the decisions you have to make when you are your own publisher and your publisher is flat broke.

Note: It is pretty much universal self-publishing advice to at the very least hire a copy editor, so use this post with caution.